Happy Nations #13: Ireland

Here is how Ireland compares to the United States in each of the six factors for Happiness:

  • GDP: 2.129 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.166 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.779 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.627 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.190 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.408 v 0.177

Ireland stunned me with its GDP strength over The United States while maintaining significantly less perceived corruption.

Other Scoring Systems

US News hates Ireland because it’s not powerful and not seen as a “mover,” even though its recent GDP growth is significant.

Health Care

Ireland has a dual healthcare system. However, only 13% of Irish healthcare expenditure is private insurance.

The HSE manages the public component and is available to any resident who has lived in Ireland for at least a year.

32% of the population has a Medical Card. The card entitles holders to free hospital care, GP visits, dental services, optical services, aural services, prescription drugs, and medical appliances. It is available to those receiving welfare payments, low earners, many retirees, and in certain other cases.

There is a push to have the Medical Card available to all Irish residents.


Approximately 28% of Ireland lives in the County of Dublin. Also, since Cork, Galway, and Limerick temperatures don’t seem very different, we’ll use Dublin as our climate measuring stick.

The temperature is in a narrow range, with average lows never reaching freezing. It does receive rain, but hardly any snow. I don’t love the number of clouds, but the high wind speeds might be the worst factor. Dublin is Seattle with an additional 10 MPH of wind every day.

I could make it work.

Cost of Living

Ireland is cheaper to live in than the United States.

Comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Dublin, we see it will cost 23.1% more to live in Dublin.

Rent and Restaurants are the main contributing factors to the high costs.


There is a different twang to it than US or UK, but 99% of Ireland speaks English.

Acceptance of Others

As of 2018, Ireland appears to have a worse outlook on immigration than the rest of Western Europe.

Ireland is significantly less diverse than The United States.

Ireland is another situation where we would probably be more readily accepted because my wife is Irish, and I also have Scotch-Irish heritage.

Moving Feasibility

You can become an Irish citizen if your grandparents or parents are Irish citizens. Unfortunately, my wife and I are a generation removed from Irish citizenship.

Besides a studying or working visa, Ireland does provide an option for retirement to Ireland. However, you need to prove you can generate $110K/yr in income and have a lump sum of ~$250K to access for emergencies.

The process takes about four months, but it could be an option. However, finding an affordable residence may be a different story.


Ireland is the first country that seems to have a pathway for us to move there. Of course, the winds would upset me, but the generally mild weather and English language are appealing.

Ireland will be a final contender.

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